NeW group on campus helping women gain their voice in society



By Courtney Chaffin

Women looking for their voice on campus have the chance to find it in a new student group.

The Network of Enlightened Women, also known as NeW, is an organization that meets regularly to help college girls learn new ways to gain their voice and to represent themselves in ways they believe women should be represented in a college environment.

Elementary education sophomore Rachel Bradley, president of UK NeW, started the chapter this past fall. The group began at the University of Virginia in 2004 as a book club. Bradley said the idea of having a group of women concerned with the important issues facing them rapidly took off. Along with the chapter at UK, there are currently 19 other chapters in the U.S.

Bradley contacted the president and founder of NeW at the University of Florida to help her get the group off the ground at UK.

“I believe that it is important to educate women about conservatism,” Bradley said. “When I say conservatism, I am speaking more about being culturally conservative, as in respecting yourself, making responsible decisions and not only representing yourself well, but representing women well as a whole.”

Bradley said NeW gives an outlet for college women, especially since they face specific challenges in every day life.

“NeW is also a wonderful place to talk about issues that are going on around campus, such as the hook-up culture, peer pressure, etc.,” she said. “Also, I really want to spread the new wave of feminism, which I strongly believe in … We believe that being a feminist does not exclude getting married, having children and overall, we encourage expressing our femininity.”

NeW meets every other Wednesday in the Fine Arts Building where they discuss the book they are currently reading along with other topics that are important to the culturally conservative women in attendance. The group is currently reading “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism” by Carrie Lukas.

Elizabeth Shemo, an integrated strategic communications sophomore and vice president of NeW, said UK women are welcome to come and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the meeting.

“We are all about getting new members,” Shemo said. “The meetings are very laid back. We have snacks and drinks and it is such a good way to meet new girls who share our similar values.”